CAPS Student Hero: Kyle Retzer

Hey Slugs! Can you believe the quarter is halfway over? Most of us are in the middle of midterm season right about now! So to add a little cheer to our mid quarter struggle, I’d like to introduce you all to a very special Peer Educator, Kyle! Kyle is one of our new Peer Educators and they are already making a huge impact in our team with their positive attitude and dedication to destigmatizing mental health! Without further ado, meet Kyle!

kyle-retzerWhat do you do regularly to relieve stress?

With school and everything else that goes on in our busy, college lives, stress is inevitable. To relieve that excess amount that I’d rather not have, I usually relax and play some video games or watch some TV with my housemates and friends. Sometimes, I will also take a trip back home to visit family and get away from everything.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I would say that I am pretty passionate about music as I have been playing instruments since I was 9. Throughout my years of playing, I’ve learned six different instruments. Currently my baby is the tenor saxophone, which I’ve been playing since high school. I’ve played a lot of different styles and genres but my favorite to play is jazz.

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

It might seem really scary and a daunting task to reach out, but CAPS is an extremely welcoming environment and all of the staff there truly care about you and your well being. There are many different resources accessible, all for you and your well being.

Kyle is a second year student, majoring in Intensive Psychology, and they are affiliated with Cowell College.

CAPS Student Hero: Ila Rutten

Hello Slugs! Can you believe the quarter is almost over? We’re nearly there! Today we’d like to introduce one amazing Peer Educator, Ila. She helps run this blog, among several other PEP duties. Thanks for everything these past couple quarters, Ila!

UntitledWhat do you do regularly to relieve stress?

I’ve come to accept that I’m a disorganized person. Unless I make deliberate efforts to stay clean, my desk disappears under a pile of papers and my bed is overwhelmed with a mountain of clothes. My brain is the same way: my anxieties and worries expand and saturate my mental space unless I take action.When I incorporate some gentle structures into my routine to stay organized, I feel calmer and I have more mental clarity. A few “mental hygiene” routines help me focus on the present moment and cordon stressful thoughts to the appropriate time. When I wake up, I start the day by mentally listing 3 things that I’m grateful for as well as my primary intention for that day. Later, I do a few minutes of meditation (I think of this as strength conditioning for my brain). They’re simple rituals, but keeping my life lightly structured helps me from becoming overwhelmed by stressful thoughts.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I try to stay as involved as I can with my family’s chocolate-making business, and a lot of my friends and family work in the restaurant industry. Growing up in this environment as turned me into an incurable “foodie”, but I’m also very concerned with the more practical issues surrounding food like sustainability, environmental conservation and food security. Also, I like to dabble in writing, drawing, and playing music. I think I just reached a turning point where I can accept imperfection in these hobbies. Not only does it feel freeing, I think this attitude has actually made me a better artist!

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

I want people to know that they should never feel shame for feeling like they need help with mental health issues. There is far too much stigma surrounding mental health care, and I firmly believe that we should all practice “mental hygiene” and regularly check in on our minds. Most of us automatically brush our teeth twice a day, or apply bandages and antiseptic to cuts and scrapes. I envision a society where we also have habitual practices that serve our mental health.

Ila is a fourth year, double majoring in Politics and Psychology, and she is affiliated with Stevenson.

CAPS Student Hero: Aditi Sheth

Hello fellow Slugs! Today we’d like to introduce another amazing PEP member, Aditi. We’re so glad to have her on the team this year. Thanks for all you do, Aditi!

DSC_0081What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

When I get stressed I like to decompress. When I’m really stressed, my feelings and emotions tend to build to the point where I have to create environments for myself that are less stimulating. The ways that I do that are unplugging, reading a good book or watching a good tv show. I recently learned of a new type of deep breathing exercise through the CAPS Stress Less presentation and started incorporating it into my routine. It works really well.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I’m passionate about a lot of things! I love children and I enjoy working with them on their academics and overall well being. I like keeping active and I enjoy such sports as tennis and baseball. I recently started kickboxing and it’s a lot of fun. I also like curling up with a good book and keeping my finger of the pulse of pop culture, watching TV and movies.

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

If I could tell my peers anything about CAPS, I would say that CAPS services are confidential, and genuinely there to help you, no matter what you think the size or the scope of the problem is. CAPS works on a day to day basis to help students deal with their individual stresses, but beyond this, they work hard reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health services. They consider both the battle and the war. And that’s really important.

Aditi is a second year Intensive Psychology major, affiliated with Crown.

 

CAPS Student Hero: Samer Muhareb

Hi all! Thanks for checking back with the blog. Today we’d like to introduce one of our Peer Educators, Samer. He’s been working hard this year and we appreciate all that he does for CAPS and PEP!

hot single in ur area act fast!!!!What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

To relieve stress, I like to hang out and have a good time with my friends, listening to music, or even watching TV with them. It always relaxes me and puts me into a better mind state.

Tell us something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I am pretty passionate about astrophysics and neuroscience. I often find myself looking at articles, taking online courses, and learning new things about both subjects. I also love the environment, and will do what I can to increase awareness and sustainability wherever I can.

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

If I were to share one thing about CAPS, it is that they have so many resources that a lot of people just do not know about! Everyone should really go on their page online and check them out, they are very helpful and free!! 

Samer is a second year Neuroscience major, and he is affiliated with Kresge.

CAPS Student Hero: Chris Chow

Hi everyone! We hope you are all having a great Winter Quarter so far. This week we would like to introduce another amazing PEP member, Chris. Thank you for all your hard work, Chris!

1965420_10204765968219918_6291937030160543942_oWhat do you do regularly to relieve stress? 

To regularly relieve stress, I play video games, take occasional naps, and play the guitar. I feel like doing these activities allows me to escape from the stress of the world and gives me time to recuperate and relax.

Tell us something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

I love playing my guitar. Taking time to learn new songs and different chords is really cathartic for me. It’s the one thing I always find myself going back to when I have spare time.

If you could share one thing you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

I would like people to know CAPS is an extremely safe place to go and talk about anything that’s bothering you. Going there doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Many people have gone and received help with stress and various experiences that have been hindering them. Overall, it is worth checking out and I promise they won’t bite!

Chris is a third year Intensive Psychology major, affiliated with College Nine. 

CAPS Student Hero: Miriam Medina

Hey everyone! We hope Winter Quarter is going great so far. Today we’d like to introduce you to another wonderful PEP member, Miriam. She’s been doing great work this year at CAPS. Thank you, Miriam!

20151008_201333What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

In order to relieve the stress that arises from life’s daily hassles, I choose to run. Running long distances liberates my mind from worrying about any stress. When I run, my sole focus is on creating a steady rhythm in my breathing, so I immediately begin to coach myself: “inhale with your nose and exhale through your mouth…repeat”. The inhales and exhales parallel with my speed. As I gain momentum, my inhales and exhales occur more rapidly; however at the same time their consistency give me a peace of mind. In this sense, it is ironic that I am able to reach a calm state of mind at a moment when my heart is racing at what seems its quickest pace and pumping my blood like there is no tomorrow. However, I get this amazing feeling when I reach my destination. At this point my breathing is pumping in my ears, but it makes me feel alive, rejuvenated, and accomplished.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

Over the past 6 years, I have grown passionate about soccer. Throughout these 6 years, I have worked hard to master the game and the mentality that is essential to play it. Although I still have much to learn about the sport, to this day it ceases to amaze me how I have improved. I sincerely believe that without my amazing coaches from high school, I would not be the same player I am today. They taught me dedication, persistence, and the most important virtue: simply being able to enjoy the game. What is awesome is that these characteristics are not only necessary to play soccer, but they are definitely essential for living our lives. Every time I step onto a soccer field, a rush of excitement warms my body as I await the whistle of the referee to begin the game. In my eyes there is an immense beauty to this sport, for most if not all of the power is in our feet and legs. The fact that I can have direction and coordination with my legs is so cool, and as the years have passed I have grown to appreciate my body for the amazing capabilities it has. Also, I love that soccer is universal and that through soccer I have made deeper connections with a variety of people and students in my school, job, and in my home town. In soccer it is known that every game or practice is a chance to get better, and that just reminds me that the same goes for life: every day brings opportunity for change.

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

I would share with my peers that CAPS does not stay within the Student Health Center building; actually its resources and services can be found all over campus! For example, the locations for Let’s Talk, a drop-in program that provides support and encouragement through a variety of topics, are in the Cantu Queer Center and Graduate Student Commons. CAPS makes an effort to reach out and provide UCSC students with the help that is incredibly useful in our busy environment. Just remember, it is okay to feel stress because it is normal; once it begins to overwhelm, CAPS is here to help. 🙂

Miriam is a second year, double majoring in Psychology and LALS. She is affiliated with Oakes.

CAPS Student Hero: Melissa Newton

FullSizeRenderHi everyone! Thanks for tuning in to the blog. We’d like to introduce Melissa Newton, one of our Peer Educators, who work to reduce stigma and reach out to students. Melissa’s been working hard as a Peer Educator, and recently helped facilitate one of our Stress Less Workshops. Thank you for all you do, Melissa!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress? 

To relieve stress, I regularly take breaks and spend time with friends and roommates. I also do yoga to help reduce physical stress along with the emotional stress. I have found that laughing helps me more than almost anything, so taking the time to laugh (with friends and family, watching a comedy, or on Tumblr) is extremely important to me.

Tell us about something you’re passionate about outside of school (e.g., clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

This year I am excited and passionate to be president of Psi Chi, which is UCSC’s Psychology Honor Society on campus. We foster students’ academic achievement, relationships with faculty, and develop a community of students passionate about psychology. Another passion of mine is soap making. Making soap from scratch is incredibly fun. I have perfected a recipe and I add colors, scents, and herbs to the soap to make it even more lively. I’m also obsessed with dinosaurs and plants.

If you could share one thing that you’d like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

I want my peers to know that CAPS is a genuinely welcoming space. They offer many services other than traditional, one-on-one therapy for anyone seeking more support, and above all, that seeking support is normal and okay and can be really helpful!

Melissa is a third year Intensive Psychology major, and she is affiliated with Cowell.